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Creating Items and Jobs in QuickBooks Desktop, Part 1

Updated: Oct 6, 2023

Does your company do projects or jobs for customers? Let QuickBooks keep all related data in one place.

If your business provides services in the form of jobs or projects, there are a couple key indicators that your processes might need a refresh. Maybe you're finding that tracking jobs involves a lot of physical file folders, paper receipts, and sticky notes. Maybe you lack confidence that project-related expenses are actually being billed to the client. Or maybe your profit margins feel like a complete mystery. If any of these rings true for you, it might be time to streamline your workflow with the help of QuickBooks Desktop.

QuickBooks makes these tasks easy. You can attach multiple jobs to customers and assign expenses to them when you enter a purchase. You can also assign estimates and invoices to specific jobs, then do the same when payments come in. QuickBooks allows you to create individual records for each job based on all this data, plus it gives you the ability to run reports that gauge things like profitability and unbilled costs.

There are transaction and report templates that are ready for you to fill with your own data, but if you haven’t yet created records for the products and services you sell to complete your jobs, we suggest you do so before you start building your first one. You’ll need to be able to add those sales to your records. For this tutorial, we'll start here.

Creating Item Records

It’s always a sound idea to make your item records as comprehensive as possible. And when it comes to creating and tracking jobs, it’s essential. As an example, let's create a service that might be used by a landscaping service.

To get started, open the Lists menu and select Item List. Click the down arrow next to Item in the lower left so you can familiarize yourself with the options available there. Click New. In the window that opens, select Service from the drop-down list that opens below Type. Give your service an Item Name/Number and click the box if it will be a Subitem of another account.

Tip: If you want to track cost, click "This service is used in assemblies or is performed by a subcontractor or partner" in the window that appears in the screenshot below:

Before you can start building job records, you should create records for the products and services that will be used for them.

If you’re using a version of QuickBooks that says Enable under Units of Measure and you want to designate a unit of measure, click the button and walk through the wizard to define it. If you’re using a version of QuickBooks that doesn’t offer it, don’t worry about it. Enter a brief Description in the appropriate field and then a Rate. Open the list in the Tax Code field and select either Tax or Non.

You may want to meet with us before you start creating items to go over the Tax Code and Account fields, or the question about assemblies or contractors – especially if you’re new to QuickBooks. You might also want to check out another blog post of ours, Effectively Track Inventory of Raw Materials and Finished Goods with Build Assemblies. These parameters must be correct, and you may have additional questions if you need to create records for inventory parts, as this process is more complicated. However, if you’re sure of the information you entered here, go ahead and click OK.

Creating Jobs

To start creating jobs, you need to open the Customers menu and click Customer Center. The Customers & Jobs tab on the left should be highlighted. If you need to create a customer record first, click the down arrow next to the field in the upper left and select New Customer & Job if you need to create a customer record first. If you already have a customer record, right-click once on the customer’s name in the list and then click Add Job. Either way, you’ll see a window like the one displayed below when you click the Job Info tab.

QuickBooks contains templates for each customer that you can use to create individual job records.

At the very top of this screen, above the window, you’ll see a field for Job Name, which you’ll need to enter. You’ll enter a Description, of course. For example, continuing with the landscaping example, If your company offers a variety of summer landscaping packages, you could add specificity like Weekly and Monthly Summer Landscaping, so you can differentiate among them. You need to consider what kinds of Job Types you want to create. Click the down arrow in that field and select <Add New>. Job Types provide a way for you to categorize different jobs.

Select your Job Status from the drop-down list, and then choose your Start Date and Projected End Date using the calendars provided. You’ll eventually be able to fill in the End Date field. When you’re done, click OK. Your new job will appear in the Customers & Jobs list, under the related customer.

Keep an eye out for our next tutorial, where we’ll discuss how jobs are used in QuickBooks in greater detail. If you have questions before then, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We want you to get the most you can out of the software and are happy to help you learn new features!

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